Lifts aren’t all you can share now due to the growing sharing economy, but what else could be just as social, still save you cash, and help encourage new experiences? Enter NightSwapping.
With the mantra ‘Swap nights, not money’, the site works by allowing you to earn free accommodation for your next trip using a virtual money called ‘nights’ thanks to hosting travellers in your own home. Each night you host someone, you earn a night at another member’s house somewhere else. It’s a great way to see new places on a budget – and share the experience with locals. There’s over 150,000 members signed up across the globe, acrosss 160 countries, so lots of places to add to your ‘to-go’ list!
We spoke to Kate, who deals with NightSwapping’s British-based members & market , on how the site works and what it offers.
Liftshare: So, Kate. What is NightSwapping?
Kate: Nightswapping is a travel platform with a twist! It allows you to travel worldwide staying with locals, but with no exchange of money between members. By putting your house or guestroom on the site, and welcoming travellers into your home, you earn 1 ‘night’ for every night you host someone… and then you can use the nights you’ve earnt to stay for free with other members in the NightSwapping community.
Liftshare: How was NightSwapping founded?
Kate: The concept was thought up and then Nightswapping founded by Serge Duriavig, who’s a French entreprener and keen traveller. He was always left feeling a bit unsatisfied by the unfriendly nature of the places he stayed while abroad, and wanted something more authentic. So, NightSwapping was built by travellers for travellers and aimed to bring together the best parts of exploring somewhere new. The site encourages real stays with locals, for more friendly, authentic, and cheaper travel adventures.
Liftshare: Airbnb is now a very famous sharing travel site. How do you guys differ?
Kate: Airbnb is very well known of course, but NightSwapping offers something a bit different thanks to the fact that locals who host aren’t doing it for extra cash on the side – more like you’re having a friend to stay.
A few key differences, are; NightSwapping’s brand new, shiny, website has a surprise travel angle where great locations, that you’d not initially thought to go to, are suggested. In just a few clicks, you can create a trip plan by adding where you’ll leave from, how far from home you want to go, and when. Then with a simple swipe you can look through the suggestions, and swipe right or left depending whether you’re interested to stay there or not. This is especially useful when you want to go away for the weekend but can’t quite decide where!
Liftshare: How do people find each other?
Kate: You simply start to search for a specific or surprise location and if you’re interested in a particular place then you can get chatting with the host to find out if it’s possible, and more about them, to get planning your trip!
Liftshare: What steps do you take to ensure everyone’s safe on their stay?
Kate: As mentioned, we have an insurance at no extra cost as it’s included in the reservation fees. It covers hosts against potential damage to their homes up to €450,000 and covers travellers if there’s a problem with their NightSwap, so finding them somewhere else to stay, and if they were to be injured in any way, we cover costs for them to be repatriated to their home country.
Liftshare: Have you ‘nightswapped’? Where have you been, and where’s next on your list?
Kate: Yes I have – I stayed in Spain near Madrid with a couple of Spanish girls in their family home. I stayed for 4 nights and actually did a trip to their home town Fontioso one day – a beautiful rural Spanish village that I would probably never have visited otherwise. It was a really authentic stay being in their home with their family and learnt a lot about Spanish culture, and a great chance to practise my rusty Spanish!
Liftshare: What happens if someone doesn’t have a space they can host in, but still wants to get involved?
Kate: Anyone can NightSwap, so even if you can’t host or need a few extra nights to extend your trip, you can buy nights off the site from £7-49 per night (depending on the category of the place you’re hoping to stay in). Easy!
Liftshare: Lastly, what’s the coolest place you’ve seen on Nightswapping – and will you be visiting it?
Kate: Getting to see all the homes that are put up daily on NightSwapping is tough sometimes as you know that you don’t always have enough time to visit all of them! There’s a massive variety of places on the site in 160 countries – from rural house in the country, to city apartments, French chalets, and even boats, so there’s something for everyone.
So, for the next trip you take – whether liftsharing or otherwise, why not see if there’s a night’s accommodation with a local? Head on over to NightSwapping.com and get exploring. And, to help you get started, try code LIFT-NS for one night free!
For more info, check out their video;
All photos credited to NightSwapping
Author Lex Barber